Titanium Silicide Nitride Emitters And Method - Patent 6471561

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Titanium Silicide Nitride Emitters And Method - Patent 6471561 Powered By Docstoc
					


United States Patent: 6471561


































 
( 1 of 1 )



	United States Patent 
	6,471,561



 Zhang
,   et al.

 
October 29, 2002




 Titanium silicide nitride emitters and method



Abstract

A field emission display apparatus includes a plurality of emitters formed
     on a substrate. Each of the emitters includes a titanium silicide nitride
     outer layer so that the emitters are less susceptible to degradation. A
     dielectric layer is formed on the substrate and the emitters, and an
     opening is formed in the dielectric layer surrounding each of the
     emitters. A conductive extraction grid is formed on the dielectric layer
     substantially in a plane defined by the emitters, and includes an opening
     surrounding each of the emitters. A cathodoluminescent faceplate having a
     planar surface is disposed parallel to the substrate.


 
Inventors: 
 Zhang; Tianhong (Boise, ID), Lee; John K. (Boise, ID), Moradi; Behnam (Boise, ID) 
 Assignee:


Micron Technology, Inc.
 (Boise, 
ID)





Appl. No.:
                    
 09/916,159
  
Filed:
                      
  July 25, 2001

 Related U.S. Patent Documents   
 

Application NumberFiling DatePatent NumberIssue Date
 130634Aug., 19986323587
 

 



  
Current U.S. Class:
  445/50  ; 445/58
  
Current International Class: 
  H01J 1/304&nbsp(20060101); H01J 1/30&nbsp(20060101); H01J 9/02&nbsp(20060101); H01J 009/02&nbsp()
  
Field of Search: 
  
  


 445/24,50,58
  

References Cited  [Referenced By]
U.S. Patent Documents
 
 
 
5186670
February 1993
Doan et al.

5229682
July 1993
Komatsu

5599749
February 1997
Hattori

5666020
September 1997
Takemura

5401676
March 1998
Lee

5769679
June 1998
Park et al.

5844250
December 1998
Itoh et al.

5956611
September 1999
Cathey, Jr et al.

6008063
December 1999
Derraa

6024620
February 2000
Cathey, Jr et al.

6028322
February 2000
Moradi



   
 Other References 

Michiaki Endo et al., "Fabrication of transition metal nitride field emitters," Applied Surface Science, 94/95:113-116, 1996.
.
Chalamala, Babu R. and Bruce E. Gnade, "Fed Up With Fat Tubes," IEEE Spectrum , Apr. 1998, pp. 42-51.
.
Eung Joon Chi et al., "Electrical Characteristics of Metal Silicide Field Emitters" 9.sup.th International Vacuum Microelectronics Conference, St. Petersburg, 1996, pp. 188-191.
.
Masayuki Nakamoto et al., "Low Operation Voltage Field Emitter Arrays Using Low Work Function Materials Fabricated by Transfer Mold Technique," EEDM, pp. 297-300, 1996.
.
Yukihiro Morimoto et al., "Analysis of Gas Release From Vitreous Silica," Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids, 139:35-46, 1992..  
  Primary Examiner:  Ramsey; Kenneth J.


  Attorney, Agent or Firm: Dorsey & Whitney LLP



Government Interests



GOVERNMENT RIGHTS


This invention was made with government support under Contract No.
     DABT63-93-C-0025 awarded by Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). The
     government has certain rights in this invention.

Parent Case Text



CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION


This application is a divisional of U.S. patent application Ser. No.
     09/130,634, filed Aug. 6, 1998, now U.S. Pat. No. 6,323,587.

Claims  

What is claimed is:

1.  A method for preparing emitters comprising: forming a plurality of emitters including silicon on a surface of a substrate;  forming a dielectric layer over the surface and
the plurality of emitters, the dielectric layer having a thickness less than a height of the emitters above the surface;  forming a conductive layer on the dielectric layer;  polishing the conductive and dielectric layers to remove material extending
beyond tips of the plurality of emitters and to expose portions of the dielectric above the tips of the plurality of emitters;  removing a portion of the dielectric layer to expose at least the tips of the plurality of emitters;  and forming a layer of
titanium silicide nitride on at least a portion of each of the emitters.


2.  The method of claim 1 wherein the step of forming a layer of titanium silicide nitride on at least some of the emitters comprises: forming a layer of titanium over at least a portion of each of the emitters;  reacting the titanium layer to
form a titanium silicide layer;  and reacting the titanium silicide layer to form a layer of titanium silicide nitride.


3.  The method of claim 2, further comprising removing unreacted portions of the titanium layer after reacting the titanium layer to form a titanium silicide layer.


4.  The method of claim 2 wherein the step of reacting the titanium layer to form a titanium silicide layer comprises rapid thermal annealing the titanium layer to form a titanium silicide layer.


5.  The method of claim 2 wherein the step of reacting the titanium layer to form a titanium silicide layer comprises heat treating the titanium layer to form a titanium silicide layer.


6.  The method of claim 2 wherein the step of reacting the titanium silicide layer to form a layer of titanium suicide nitride comprises rapid thermal annealing the titanium silicide layer in a gas including ammonia.


7.  The method of claim 2 wherein the step of reacting the titanium silicide layer to form a layer of titanium silicide nitride comprises heat treating the titanium silicide layer in a nitrogen-bearing gas.


8.  The method of claim 2 wherein the step of reacting the titanium silicide layer to form a layer of titanium silicide nitride comprises heat treating the titanium silicide layer in a gas including ammonia.


9.  The method of claim 1 wherein the step of forming a dielectric layer comprises depositing a silicon dioxide layer.


10.  The method of claim 1 wherein the step of removing a portion of the dielectric layer to expose at least tips of the plurality of emitters comprises etching the silicon dioxide layer in a buffered oxide etch solution.


11.  A method for making a field emission display, the method comprising: forming a plurality of emitters on a substrate;  forming a dielectric layer on the substrate, the dielectric layer including an opening surrounding each of the emitters; 
forming a conductive layer on the dielectric layer, the conductive layer including an opening surrounding each of the emitters;  and forming titanium silicide nitride on at least a portion of each of the emitters.


12.  The method of claim 11 wherein the step of forming a plurality of emitters comprises forming a plurality of emitters including silicon on a surface of the substrate.


13.  The method of claim 12 wherein the step of forming a dielectric layer comprises forming a dielectric layer on the substrate and the plurality of emitters.


14.  The method of claim 12, further comprising: treating the dielectric layer and the conductive layer to remove a portion of the dielectric layer and the conductive layer overlying each of the emitters to provide an opening in the conductive
layer surrounding each of the emitters;  etching the dielectric layer to expose each of the emitters;  forming a layer of titanium over at least a portion of each of the emitters;  heat treating the titanium layer to form a titanium silicide layer;  and
heat treating the titanium silicide layer in a nitrogen-bearing gas to form a layer of titanium silicide nitride.


15.  The method of claim 14 wherein the step of forming a titanium layer comprises sputtering a five hundred angstrom thick film of titanium on at least a portion of each of the emitters.


16.  A method of treating a plurality of emitters adapted for use in a field emission display, comprising: forming a layer of titanium over at least a portion of each of the emitters;  heat treating the titanium layer to form a titanium silicide
layer;  and heat treating the titanium silicide layer in a nitrogen-bearing gas to form a layer of titanium silicide nitride.


17.  The method of claim 16 wherein the emitters comprise silicon.  Description  

TECHNICAL FIELD


This invention relates in general to visual displays for electronic devices and more particularly to improved emitters for field emission displays.


BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION


FIG. 1 is a simplified side cross-sectional view of a portion of a field emission display 10 including a faceplate 20 and a baseplate 21 in accordance with the prior art.  FIG. 1 is not drawn to scale.  The faceplate 20 includes a transparent
viewing screen 22, a transparent conductive layer 24 and a cathodoluminescent layer 26.  The transparent viewing screen 22 supports the layers 24 and 26, acts as a viewing surface and as a wall for a hermetically sealed package formed between the viewing
screen 22 and the baseplate 21.  The viewing screen 22 may be formed from glass.  The transparent conductive layer 24 may be formed from indium tin oxide.  The cathodoluminescent layer 26 may be segmented into pixels yielding different colors for color
displays.  Materials useful as cathodoluminescent materials in the cathodoluminescent layer 26 include Y.sub.2 O.sub.3 :Eu (red, phosphor P-56), Y.sub.3 (Al, Ga).sub.5 O.sub.12 :Tb (green, phosphor P-53) and Y.sub.2 (SiO.sub.5):Ce (blue, phosphor P-47)
available from Osram Sylvania of Towanda Pa.  or from Nichia of Japan.


The baseplate 21 includes emitters 30 formed on a planar surface of a substrate 32.  The substrate 32 is coated with a dielectric layer 34.  In one embodiment, this is effected by deposition of silicon dioxide via a conventional TEOS process. 
The dielectric layer 34 is formed to have a thickness that is less than a height of the emitters 30.  This thickness is on the order of 0.4 microns, although greater or lesser thicknesses may be employed.  A conductive extraction grid 38 is formed on the
dielectric layer 34.  The extraction grid 38 may be formed, for example, as a thin layer of doped polysilicon.  The radius of an opening 40 created in the extraction grid 38, which is also approximately the separation of the extraction grid 38 from the
tip of the emitter 30, is about 0.4 microns, although larger or smaller openings 40 may also be employed.


The baseplate 21 also includes a field effect transistor ("FET") 50 formed in the surface of the substrate 32 for controlling the supply of electrons to the emitter 30.  The FET 50 includes an n-tank 52 formed in the surface of the substrate 32
beneath the emitter 30.  The n-tank 52 serves as a drain for the FET 50 and may be formed via conventional masking and ion implantation processes.  The FET 50 also includes a source 54 and a gate electrode 56.  The gate electrode 56 is separated from the
substrate 32 by a gate oxide 57 and a field oxide layer 58.  The emitter 30 is typically about a micron tall, and several emitters 30 are generally included together with each n-tank 52, although only one emitter 30 is illustrated.


The substrate 32 may be formed from p-type silicon material having an acceptor concentration N.sub.A ca.  1-5.times.10.sup.15 /cm.sup.3, while the n-tank 52 may have a surface donor concentration N.sub.D ca.  1-2.times.10.sup.16 /cm.sup.3.


In operation, the extraction grid 38 is biased to a voltage on the order of 40-80 volts, although higher or lower voltages may be used, while the substrate 32 is maintained at a voltage of about zero volts.  Signals coupled to the gate 56 of the
FET 50 turn the FET 50 on, allowing electrons to flow from the source 54 to the n-tank 52 and thus to the emitter 30.  Intense electrical fields between the emitter 30 and the extraction grid 38 then cause field emission of electrons from the emitter 30. A larger positive voltage, ranging up to as much as 5,000 volts or more but often 2,500 volts or less, is applied to the faceplate 20 via the transparent conductive layer 24.  The electrons emitted from the emitter 30 are accelerated to the faceplate 20
by this voltage and strike the cathodoluminescent layer 26.  This causes light emission in selected areas, i.e., those areas adjacent to where the FETs 50 are conducting, and forms luminous images such as text, pictures and the like.  Integrating the
FETs 50 in the substrate 32 to provide an active display 10 (ie., a display 10 including active circuitry for addressing and providing control signals to specific emitters 30, etc.) yields advantages in size, simplicity and ease of interconnection of the
display 10 to other electronic componentry.


When the emitted electrons strike the cathodoluminescent layer 26, compounds in the cathodoluminescent layer 26 dissociate.  This causes outgassing of materials from the cathodoluminescent layer 26.  When the outgassed materials react with the
emitters 30, a barrier height of the emitters 30 may increase.  When the emitter barrier height increases, the emitted current is reduced.  This reduces the luminance of the display 10.


Residual gas analysis indicates that the dominant materials outgassed from some display cathodoluminescent layers 26 include oxygen and hydroxyl radicals.  This leads to oxidation of the emitters 30 and especially emitters 30 formed from silicon. Silicon emitters 30 are useful because they are readily formed and integrated with other electronic devices on silicon substrates.  Electron emission is reduced when silicon emitters 30 oxidize.  This degrades performance of the display 10.


Therefore there is a need for a way to prevent degradation, and especially oxidation, of emitters 30 used in displays 10.


SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION


In accordance with an aspect of the invention, a field emission display has a plurality of emitters including titanium silicide nitride.  The plurality of emitters is formed on a substrate that is part of a baseplate.  A dielectric layer is
formed on the substrate, a semiconductor device formed in or on the substrate for controlling the flow of electrons to the emitters, and the plurality of emitters.  The display includes an extraction grid formed in a plane defined by tips of the
plurality of emitters.  The extraction grid includes an opening surrounding and in close proximity to each tip of the plurality of emitters.  Significantly, the tips include titanium silicide nitride.


As a result, the emitters are markedly more resistant to reaction with compounds released from the cathodoluminescent layer by electron bombardment than are silicon emitters.  This results in a robust display that resists emitter degradation the
emitters may also exhibit increased emissivity due to reduced work function provided by titanium silicide nitride compared to the work function of silicon. 

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS


FIG. 1 is a simplified side cross-sectional view of a portion of a display including a faceplate and a baseplate in accordance with the prior art.


FIG. 2 is a simplified side cross-sectional view of a portion of a display according to an embodiment of the present invention.


FIG. 3 is a simplified side cross-sectional view of a portion of a baseplate for the display at one stage in manufacturing according to an embodiment of the present invention.


FIG. 4 is a simplified side cross-sectional view of a portion of a baseplate for the display at a later stage in manufacturing according to an embodiment of the present invention.


FIG. 5 is a simplified side cross-sectional view of a portion of a baseplate for the display at a still later stage in manufacturing according to an embodiment of the present invention.


FIG. 6 is a flow chart of a process for manufacturing a baseplate for the display according to an embodiment of the present invention.


FIG. 7 is a simplified block diagram of a computer using the emitter according to an embodiment of the present invention. 

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION


FIG. 2 is a simplified side cross-sectional view of a portion of a field emission display 10' in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.  FIG. 2 is not drawn to scale.  Many of the components used in the display 10' shown in FIG.
2 are identical to components used in the display 10 of FIG. 1.  Therefore, in the interest of brevity, these components have been provided with the same reference numerals, and an explanation of them will not be repeated.


It has been discovered that coating at least the tips of the emitters 30 with a titanium silicide nitride layer 70 provides significant advantages when the emitter 30 is used in the display 10'.  In one embodiment, the advantages include improved
resistance to chemical poisoning of the emitters 30 from materials that are outgassed from the cathodoluminescent layer 26 in response to electron bombardment.  This provides improved lifetime for the emitter 30 and therefore for the display 10'
incorporating the emitter 30.  Coating at least tips of the emitters 30 with the titanium silicide nitride layer 70 also provides a decreased work function compared to silicon emitters 30, resulting in increased current from each emitter 30 together with
reduced turn-on voltage.


FIGS. 3 through 6 illustrate a portion of the baseplate 21' for the display 10' of FIG. 2 at various stages in manufacturing according to an embodiment of the present invention.  As shown in FIG. 3, an emitter 30 has been fabricated on the
substrate 32, and the substrate 32 and the emitters 30 are coated with the dielectric layer 34.  An extraction grid 38 including a conductive layer is then formed on the dielectric layer 34.  The extraction grid 38 may be formed, for example, as a thin
layer of doped polysilicon, however, other materials can be employed.


As shown in FIG. 4, a conventional chemical-mechanical polish is carried out to remove the "hill" of dielectric material 34 and extraction grid 38 immediately above the tip of the emitter 30.  This is typically carried out via a potassium
hydroxide solution that incorporates suspended particles of controlled size, which may be silicon particles.  It is important that this chemical-mechanical polish not damage the tips of the emitters 30, ie., that the polishing process stops short of
reaching these tips.


With reference to FIG. 5, following the chemical-mechanical polishing operation, the extraction grid 38 is used as a mask for etching the dielectric layer 34 to expose at least the tips of the emitters 30 in the openings 40.  This has the
advantage of not requiring a separate photoresist application, exposure and development, thus reducing labor content and materials requirements.  This also promotes increased yields by reducing the number of processing steps.  When silicon dioxide is
used to form the dielectric layer 34, this step may be carried out by etching the wafer in a conventional buffered aqueous hydrogen fluoride oxide etch or BOE.


As also shown in FIG. 5, following etching of the dielectric layer 34 to expose at least the tip of the emitter 30, a titanium silicide nitride layer 70 is formed on the emitter 30 by a process explained below with reference to FIG. 6.


FIG. 6 is a flow chart of a process 80 for manufacturing emitters 30 according to an embodiment of the present invention.  The substrate 32 having a plurality of the emitters 30 has been previously formed, and the surface of the substrate 32 and
the emitters 30 have been previously coated with the dielectric layer 34.  The extraction grid 38 has been previously deposited, and the chemical-mechanical polish and etch have been previously carried out to expose at least the tips of the emitters 30. 
Optional step 82 removes any native oxide from the emitters 30, via, e.g., a conventional hydrogen fluoride etching step.  Other methods for removal of native oxide are also suitable for use with the present invention, provided that the oxide removal
process does not blunt the tips of the emitters 30.


In step 84, a layer of titanium is formed over the surface of the extraction grid 38 and also over at least the tips of the emitters 30.  The layer of titanium may be applied in any of several ways, including evaporation, chemical vapor
deposition and the like, however, sputtering is preferred.  The layer of titanium should not be so thick as to distort the tips of the emitters 30 and should be thick enough to ensure coating of the tips, i.e., to obviate formation of pinholes in the
titanium layer.  In one embodiment, the titanium layer is on the order of five hundred angstroms thick.


The titanium layer is then reacted in step 86 with the silicon forming the emitter 30 to form titanium silicide or TiSi.sub.2.  This may be realized by rapid thermal annealing of the emitters 30 and the titanium layer, for example, at 670.degree. C. for 30 seconds in nitrogen.  Unreacted titanium may then be removed in optional step 88 by conventional etching, for example, with NH.sub.4 OH:H.sub.2 O.sub.2 :H.sub.2 O=1:1:5.


The titanium silicide is then reacted with nitrogen to form the titanium silicide nitride layer 70 (FIG. 5) in step 90.  This may be effected by rapid thermal annealing at a suitable temperature, such as 1050.degree.  C., in ammonia for a
suitable period, such as 90 seconds.  The process 80 then ends and other conventional processing steps for forming field emission displays 10' are carried out.


It will be understood that while rapid thermal annealing is employed in one embodiment, other forms of heat treatment may be used to react the titanium to form titanium silicide and to react the titanium silicide to form titanium silicide
nitride.  For example, titanium and silicon may be reacted by heating in an oven at 700.degree.  C. for half an hour.  It will also be understood that emitters 30 including titanium silicide nitride may be made via other processes.


The process 80 illustrated via FIG. 6 results in an emitter body 30 that is coated with a titanium silicide nitride layer 70.  This provides several advantages.  The titanium silicide nitride layer 70 that is formed resists attack by BOE, which
is useful in subsequent processing steps when BOE is used to pattern subsequent layers.  Measurements of the titanium silicide nitride layers 70 formed by the process 80 provide sheet resistivities on the order of 3.4 ohms per square.


Emitters 30 having a titanium silicide nitride surface layer 70 thus provide lower turn-on voltages and higher currents compared with silicon.  Moreover, titanium silicide nitride is very resistant to oxidation, especially when compared to
silicon, leading to improved performance and a more robust emitter 30.  However, it will be understood that the emitter 30 may be coated with a work function decreasing layer formed by other materials.  Additionally, forming the layer 70 from a layer
that is metallurgically alloyed to the emitter 30 provides a robust emitter 30 having reproducible characteristics.


The process 80 does not require any photolithographic steps and therefore has minimal impact on labor content and materials requirements.  The process 80 is also consistent with increased yields due to simplification of device processing.  It is
completely self aligned, promoting higher yields by avoiding some error sources.


FIG. 7 is a simplified block diagram of a portion of a computer 100 using the display 10' fabricated as described with reference to FIGS. 2 through 6 and associated text.  The computer 100 includes a central processing unit 102 coupled via a bus
104 to a memory 106, function circuitry 108, a user input interface 110 and the display 10' including the emitters 30 having the titanium silicide nitride layer 70 according to the embodiments of the present invention.  The memory 106 may or may not
include a memory management module (not illustrated) and does include ROM for storing instructions providing an operating system and a read-write memory for temporary storage of data.  The processor 102 operates on data from the memory 106 in response to
input data from the user input interface 110 and displays results on the display 10'.  The processor 102 also stores data in the read-write portion of the memory 106.  Examples of systems where the computer 100 finds application include personal/portable
computers, camcorders, televisions, automobile electronic systems, microwave ovens and other home and industrial appliances.


Field emission displays 10' for such applications provide significant advantages over other types of displays, including reduced power consumption, improved range of viewing angles, better performance over a wider range of ambient lighting
conditions and temperatures and higher speed with which the display can respond.  Field emission displays 10' find application in most devices where, for example, liquid crystal displays find application.


Although the present invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, the invention is not limited to these embodiments.  Rather, the invention is limited only by the appended claims, which include within their scope all
equivalent devices or methods which operate according to the principles of the invention as described.


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DOCUMENT INFO
Description: This invention relates in general to visual displays for electronic devices and more particularly to improved emitters for field emission displays.BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTIONFIG. 1 is a simplified side cross-sectional view of a portion of a field emission display 10 including a faceplate 20 and a baseplate 21 in accordance with the prior art. FIG. 1 is not drawn to scale. The faceplate 20 includes a transparentviewing screen 22, a transparent conductive layer 24 and a cathodoluminescent layer 26. The transparent viewing screen 22 supports the layers 24 and 26, acts as a viewing surface and as a wall for a hermetically sealed package formed between the viewingscreen 22 and the baseplate 21. The viewing screen 22 may be formed from glass. The transparent conductive layer 24 may be formed from indium tin oxide. The cathodoluminescent layer 26 may be segmented into pixels yielding different colors for colordisplays. Materials useful as cathodoluminescent materials in the cathodoluminescent layer 26 include Y.sub.2 O.sub.3 :Eu (red, phosphor P-56), Y.sub.3 (Al, Ga).sub.5 O.sub.12 :Tb (green, phosphor P-53) and Y.sub.2 (SiO.sub.5):Ce (blue, phosphor P-47)available from Osram Sylvania of Towanda Pa. or from Nichia of Japan.The baseplate 21 includes emitters 30 formed on a planar surface of a substrate 32. The substrate 32 is coated with a dielectric layer 34. In one embodiment, this is effected by deposition of silicon dioxide via a conventional TEOS process. The dielectric layer 34 is formed to have a thickness that is less than a height of the emitters 30. This thickness is on the order of 0.4 microns, although greater or lesser thicknesses may be employed. A conductive extraction grid 38 is formed on thedielectric layer 34. The extraction grid 38 may be formed, for example, as a thin layer of doped polysilicon. The radius of an opening 40 created in the extraction grid 38, which is also approximately the separation of the extraction grid 38 from thetip of